CHARLESTON, SC (WBTW) - Polygraph results for the man who has been connected to the disappearance and presumed death of Brittanee Drexel suggest the man lied to investigators.
Timothy DaShaun Taylor, 26, has been connected to, but never charged in, the Brittanee Drexel case. Drexel was 17-years-old when she traveled from her hometown of Rochester, New York to Myrtle Beach for a spring break trip with friends in April 2009.
Drexel has not been seen or heard from since April 22, 2009. The teen is seen on hotel and Myrtle Beach traffic cameras leaving the Blue Water Resort in Myrtle Beach – the last time she is seen alive – and her cell phone pings from towers headed south down Highway 17 through Georgetown, McClellanville, Santee River and Francis Marion National Forest, court records confirm.
Taylor was connected to the teen’s disappearance when a prison inmate wrote a letter in 2016, claiming he saw Taylor participate in the 2009 rape and murder of Drexel. The FBI reports witnesses told investigators that Drexel’s body was placed in a gator pit after she was pistol-whipped and shot.
Taylor had just completed a prison sentence in 2015 after pleading guilty to an armed robbery charge from four years prior. Soon after the inmate's letter was sent to officials, federal prosecutors launched a second case against Taylor for the same 2011 armed robbery for which he served time in jail on the state charges.
Court documents confirm that Taylor was offered a sentencing deal in return for speaking with investigators about the Drexel case. Prosecutors proposed that if Taylor “would provide truthful substantial assistance to law enforcement regarding crimes of which he was aware, including the Drexel matter, the Government would dismiss the most severe count pending against him, which would yield a sentence in the 0-20 year range, rather than subjecting him to a potential of life sentence.”
If, however, Taylor wasn’t truthful with investigators, “he would be subject to a sentence between ten and twenty years.”
Taylor agreed to a polygraph test. He and his lawyer, Mark Peper, traveled to the FBI Charleston Resident Agency on June 14, 2017, for the test to be administered. During the lie detector test, Taylor was asked, “Do you know for sure who was involved in the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel?” to which Taylor responded, “No.”
Taylor was also asked if he had ever seen Brittanee Drexel in person. He denied the accusation.
Taylor was told he was “reacting strongly” to several of the questions, which prompted him to request to speak with his attorney. Taylor’s attorney was shown the test charts and the results of the Drexel case questions compared to the control questions, at which time the lawyer agreed Taylor “failed the test,” according to court documents, but allowed Taylor to continue the interview.
The investigator began discussing a story Taylor had previously presented to detectives, claiming he overheard a conversation between two individuals – whose names have not been released – about having Drexel’s cell phone. Taylor began to deny that he was withholding information, “began shouting angrily at the examiner and asked to speak to his attorney again,” the court documents note.
At that time, the interview was terminated. The results of the lie detector test, according to court documents, were that Taylor “was being deceptive.” As a result, the only plea agreement made available to Taylor regarding the federal charges on the 2011 armed robbery mandated at least 10 years in jail, no more than 20.
Taylor pleaded guilty to the federal charges for the robbery in July 2017 and faces at least ten years based on his guilty plea. Taylor was scheduled to be sentenced in January, but that sentencing was delayed. Civil rights activist John Barnett said that the delay will give the justice department more time to review their case. Barnett added that there’s no proof that Drexel is dead. He says no bones have been found in an alligator pit.
Taylor has never been charged in the Drexel case. Drexel’s body has never been found.